Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Swift Brookies And The Half & Half Fly

"Accurately recalling an entire day of fishing is like trying to push smoke back down a chimney, so you settle on these specific moments" - John Gierach

So, they are finally here! The Brookies are back and they REALLY started their run when the river flow dropped as I predicted. Suddenly the 6 inch fish have been replaced with 10 to 12 inch that are eager to hit a fly. The traditional redd areas are not full to capacity as these fish seem to still getting used to their new colors. The rainbows know that the brookies are there and are starting to hang out below them and are also trying to get into the spawning act themselves.

Last Friday I worked the area from the Gauge down to the Pump House ignoring the weedy sections and working the gravel stretches, the "skinny water" with a micro egg on the bottom and a Half & Half 18 inches above with a micro shot in between. I took 8 brookies between 8 and 12 inches and 5 robust bows in the two hours that I was there. The rainbows grabbed the egg and the brook trout wanted that nymph.

"That Nymph" is the Half & Half which isn't a new fly but a new style that can be incorporated into many dubbed bodied nymphs.
As you all know all aquatic creatures are two toned: dark on the top and lighter on the bottom. Over the last 100 years there has been some attempts to mimic that coloration but it has never really caught on which seems strange since many of us love to argue the merits of different shades of colors. So, about a month ago I began to tie up some generic, light bodied nymphs and did some cosmetic work by running a brown sharpie down the top of the fly from head to tail. They looked REAL and life like. To make them more life like I went retro" with them by ditching the bead and going with a non toxic wire wrapped on the hook shank. The result was a fly that had a more even, slower descent instead of that nose drive that you see with beadheads. (Guess I solved that thing called "vertical drag". That was easy!!)

The results were great. Swift brookies and EB browns couldn't get enough of the fly in either weighted or unweighted versions. I used natural body material in natural colors and none of that glitzy neon stuff that turns a fly into an attractor pattern.

Hook size 12 through 16 wet or dry fly style

Body - Good old Australian Possum dyed light olive

Rib - ultra fine copper wire

Weight - non toxic wire.

Coloration - a brown or black sharpie run along the back of the fly

It's the last week of day light savings. Go FISH



Anonymous said...


I did that shading of the nymphs years ago but then forgot about it until you brought it up. Thank you. I've used the pens to touch up streamer flies but that's it. Did you ever tie woven nymphs to get the same effect? Good post.


TROUT said...

Hi Terry,

I tie woven nymphs and use them regularly at spots like the swift. Nothing gives that two tone look quite as well as a woven nymph. I use embroidery thread in two high contrast colors and define the segments with copper wire.

To be honest, people will sometimes ask me what I'm using, and when I say a woven nymph, they look at me like an idiot. Glad to see someone else uses them too. There was a surge in popularity of them in the competition fishing community, but I've read the history of them dates back to the 20s.

I've also been experimenting with a new fly that addresses the two tone look in a different way. I've tied two, but haven't fished them yet, because my other set up has been doing well. Can't wait to try them out though. Hopefully I'll get out there soon.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Terry and Trout,

I used to tie woven nymphs also but it's been years since the last one. It's faster to color them although the woven ones always looked great.


Falsecast said...

Ken - One of the recently stocked Brown trout I caught at Wendell shot a 1970's style porn movie of Milt on my waders. It was definitely a recent stocker, those 8 inch, warn out fin, caught right under the bridge. Is that common? I wonder if that started in the hatchery or what? Happy Halloween!

gregory fowle said...

Is there any way you could send me addresses of spots to fish on the millers i want to go tomorrow. I just started fly fishing through a veterans program project healing waters thank you

Millers River Flyfisher said...


I just sent you the Millers River Fly Fishing Guide by separate email. Its all you need.

Falsecast, Browns spawn in the Fall so that may happen. It would of happened in the hatchery if it was a hatchery fish.


Parachute Adams said...


As you've stated before, the browns do have a way of making it even in low flow and hot summers like we just had. With the short days now I only had time after work to hit a local free stone 10 minutes from my house, and caught a pretty 7" brown on an elk hair caddis. Had to be stream born being I can't imagine the state stocking them that small. This particular stream warmed up plenty this summer so this small wild one made it through.


Millers River Flyfisher said...


It probably was a stream born fish. The EB has some 6-7 inch browns that were stocked but if your stream was not on the Fall stocking list then you caught a jewel. I've caught them on the Millers over the years and they are special.